Rookie Mistakes That Are Making Your Genealogy Research Harder

A person researching on a laptop and making notes

Finding your family tree can be an exciting hobby. But while genealogy research can feel all fun and games in the beginning, a lot of people eventually give up because they’re too frustrated.

 

What makes it so frustrating is the endless room for errors. In fact, speaking as genealogists, we can say with certainty that even the best of us can make mistakes when it comes to genealogy. But things get better with time and experience.

 

Here are a few rookie mistakes, though, that can easily be avoided.

 

Not Organizing Your Research Well

This is a mistake that’ll make your research harder and harder as you proceed. The more information you have; the more frustrated you’d feel.

 

Whether it’s physical records or records on your laptop, use files and clear labels to keep it all organized. This will help you reach things you need easily later on. Also, a lot of people make the mistake of not recording their sources. This makes your research weak more than anything else.

 

Relying Solely on Dates and Ages

If you’re looking for an ancestor and you come across someone who seems to be a perfect match in terms of the birth town, spouse’s names, occupation, and so on, but their name isn’t spelled the same way—don’t dismiss the finding. The spelling of surnames was often misrecorded or even deliberately changed over the years. If everything else seems to be in order, it’s worth exploring.

 

Similarly, if the age seems off by a few years, it doesn’t mean you have the wrong person. Back in the day, people used to lie about their ages a lot for several reasons.

 

Having the Wrong Ancestor in Your Family Tree

While all close matches are worth exploring, they need to be investigated well. This is because having even a single wrong ancestor can be disastrous for your family tree. It would lead you toward a whole lot of wrong information, wasting valuable time and energy.

 

This is why always make sure to check and cross-check and ensure that you have reliable sources to back up each finding.

 

Not Talking to Your Family

A young and older woman having a conversation

 

When you start your research, have a chat with your family, especially some of the older relatives. They may have a lot of information already, and so you won’t have to waste a lot of time looking for it. All you’ll have to do is cross-check that information with reliable records to ensure their accuracy.

 

For instance, imagine finding out that your family name’s spelling was changed at some point in history. And you figure this out after a whole month of research and countless false trials, only to find out that your grandad knew all along. It would be quite a bummer.

 

Some of these mistakes are easier to spot and avoid, but you could be making countless others that are making your research harder and also inaccurate. This is why it’s best to hire a genetic genealogist to ensure you’re on the right track.

 

Expert DNA research assistance can help you avoid rookie mistakes, speeding up your research process.

 

Get in touch with us to learn more about our traditional genealogy services.